1997 Beckenham by-election

A by-election in Beckenham, England, was called in 1997 when the sitting Member of Parliament, Piers Merchant (Conservative), resigned from Parliament on 21 October 1997. The Conservatives held the seat, with Jacqui Lait winning the by-election on 20 November.

BackgroundEdit

Piers Merchant had been under pressure during the May 1997 general election after tabloid newspaper stories about his relationship with a bar hostess whom he had employed as a researcher,[1] but he had denied any impropriety and retained the confidence of his local association. His resignation on 21 October was caused by further newspaper stories and video footage which confirmed that his denial had been misleading.[2] He accepted the office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead.

At the by-election, the Conservatives selected Jacqui Lait, who had lost her seat at Hastings in the general election. The Labour candidate, Robert (Bob) Hughes, was a long time resident of the constituency and had contested the seat at the general election. The Liberal Democrats also chose their general election candidate Rosemary Vetterlein. The Conservatives were successful in retaining the seat with a further reduced majority.[3]

Also held on the same day was a by-election at Winchester. This was the last election (general or by-election) that the Referendum Party contested; it wound up soon afterwards.

ResultsEdit

Beckenham by-election, 1997[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Jacqui Lait 13,162 41.3 −1.2
Labour Robert N. Hughes 11,935 37.4 +4.0
Liberal Democrats Rosemary E. Vetterlein 5,864 18.4 +0.2
Liberal Phil H. Rimmer 330 1.0 −0.3
National Front John C. McAuley 267 0.8 +0.1
Referendum Leonard F. Mead 237 0.8 -2.4
Independent John Campion 69 0.2 N/A
Natural Law John D. Small 44 0.1 N/A
Majority 1,227 3.8 -5.3
Turnout 31,908 43.7 -30.6
Registered electors 74,019
Conservative hold Swing −2.6
General election 1997: Beckenham[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Piers Merchant 23,084 42.5 -14.4
Labour Robert N. Hughes 18,131 33.4 +9.6
Liberal Democrats Rosemary E. Vetterlein 9,858 18.1 +0.7
Referendum Leonard F. Mead 1,663 3.1 N/A
Liberal Phil H. Rimmer 720 1.3 -0.1
UKIP Christopher N. Pratt 506 0.9 N/A
National Front John C. McAuley 388 0.7 N/A
Majority 4,953 9.1 -23.9
Turnout 54,350 74.3 -3.3
Registered electors 73,126
Conservative hold Swing -15.0

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ BBC: Politics 97 (general election campaign) Retrieved 5 November 2011
  2. ^ "Politics: Demise of man who always protested his innocence", The Independent, Retrieved 5 November 2011
  3. ^ "Blow for Tories as majority is reduced in by-election", The Independent, Retrieved 5 November 2011
  4. ^ Boothroyd, David. "Results of Byelections in the 1997-2002 Parliament". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Election Data 1997". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.

External linksEdit